tv Weekends With Alex Witt MSNBC July 27, 2014 9:00am-10:01am PDT
by both sides but is it really quiet on both sides? nearly an entire family killed on the streets of philadelphia. congressman paul ryan and his plan to reduce poverty. who does he blame in the first place? i'll get reaction from one scholar. "to kill a mockingbird," and now a book about the author. one of the claims in the book could come as a shock to fans. hey there, everyone, it's hi noon here in the east and 9:00 a.m. out west. breaking news in the middle east where israel and hamas offered different truces to stop the fighting. prime minister netanyahu says israel has violated its own cease-fire. >> we've accepted five
cease-fires acted upon them, hamas has rejected on each of them, violated two of them including two humanitarian cease-fires which we implemented in the last two hours. now hamas is saying in the last two hours that they have violated their own cease-fire. >> the israeli military says 25 rockets has been fired at the country since midnight. more than 1,000 palestinians have died and 46 israelis have been killed. let's go to martin fletcher who is joining me live from tel aviv. israel saying that hamas has broken its own cease-fire. let's talk about the palestinian position in this conflict overall. how credible is it? >> reporter: well, credible in the sense that hamas has continued to fight and so many attempts at instituting cease-fires that then get broken. i think hamas is credible. they have a reputation of always
doing what they say but the cease-fire they called for from 2:00 local time, they almost major majorly violated themselves. 60 rockets fired from gaza today. 30 of them since that 2:00 deadline for a cease-fire. but in all fairness, israel did not accept that cease-fire and so both sides are calling for cease-fires. both sides are ignoring cease-fires and the bottom line seems to be that neither side is ready for a prolonged cease-fire. >> martin, i want to pick up on the conversation that we were having yesterday about the logistics of getting the information from one place to the next. one side says, yes, we're going to go with the cease-fire and how important is it for that information to trickle down to the various groups? >> reporter: well, on the israeli side, it's no problem at all. what the military command says, goes. it's a different story,
presumably on the palestinian side because they have been so -- under such pressure for so long and they have the control and the operational headquarters have been under attack so incessantly and violently but nevertheless they have managed to contain the rocket fire at about half the extent they were, say, two weeks ago. but even now when they call the cease-fire, there's always that question, which haven't really answered yet which is operatives under the ground on most of the cases simply didn't get the message or not. so we're not very clear. obviously it's much more difficult for hamas to organize its troops in the situation that they are in than it is for the israelis. >> all of the talk about a week-long humanitarian cease-fire, is anyone talking about that or anything substantive along those lines today? >> reporter: well, the cabinet
meeting is meeting right now to talk about that very subject, among other things, obviously. so there is talk but it does seem to be falling victims and if the israeli army completely pulls out of gaza. well, that's not going to happen. and from the israeli side, they are saying that they are going to call for a completely demilitarized gaza strip. all weapons need to be handed over to someone and no more rocket offenses by hamas. well, that's not going to happen. all kerry really wants is another extension, 12 hours, 4 hours, another 12 hours hoping that bit by bit salami style it's been a week. neither side is playing ball.
each side is calling for the cease-fires and then continuing with the fighting. so it's a rather desperate and confusing situation and must be worse for the palestinians in gaza. some of the reporting in gaza is saying that the significance in gaza are backing upset with this. the correspondents can tell you more than i can from tel aviv but there are more and more reports out of gaza that there is pressure to look after the civilians. >> we're going to get a report from gaza at the bottom of the hour and i'll talk about that. let's get reaction from the white house. to do that, we bring in kristen welker. you heard martin describing the situation and any hope for peace negotiations or at least a cease-fire falling victim to the circumstances. >> reporter: well, i just spoke with a senior administration official who says that they are hesitant to even use the word
optimistic. they say that's just what needs to happen. secretary kerry who just returned from the region has apparently been working the phones today speaking with his counterparts in the region, continuing to try to hammer out, at the very least, a week-long cease-fire. but what we've seen over the past it 4 hours, alex, which you and martin have been discussing, underscores how complicated that is. one of the main sticking points, the israelis want the ability to begin their incursion against the tunnels which they say hamas is using to infiltrate israel. benjamin netanyahu was on "meet the press" and he says he regrets the high civilian death toll but puts the blame on hamas. >> hamas is simply continuing all of its operations and israel will not let this terror operation decide when it's convenient for them and not convenient for them to attack
our people when it's convenient for them to restock and reload and when it's not convenient for them. we'll do whatever is necessary to protect our people. >> reporter: of course, there have been big concerns about proportionality. that's one of the concerns that secretary of state kerry was raising. he's continuing to work the phones today and will continue to do that as he tries to broker the week-long cease-fire. alex, when you think about it, what they are working towards is a week-long cease-fire, which is not that long, but they believe that is the very minimum that they can get to try to hammer out some of the broader issues. alex? >> i want to turn to libya where the state department states that 150 americans have been evacuated because of violence there. what are you hearing on that front? >> reporter: well, all of the embassy personnel are safe. they were evacuated yesterday
under growing concerns about the violence that was breaking out around the embassy. it's centered near the airport in tripoli, alex, but in the past few weeks it's gotten a lot worse and mortars were even flying near the embassy so they made the decision that it wasn't safe for u.s. personnel to stay. now, these are warring militias. a number of experts with whom i've spoke with say this is the worst violence in libya since the fall of the fall of moammar gadhafi. there's a new government that will be put in place but there's a lot of skepticism about whether that's really going to make a difference. alex? >> thanks. a memorial is growing in philadelphia where two carjackers plowed right into a family selling fruit for their church. a desperate manhunt is under way
trying to find the suspects. any new developments to report? >> reporter: well, alex, with a six-figure reward on the line, we are hearing that tips are pouring in. but take a look behind me and you can see the memorial here. people have been coming by in an almost steady stream remembering these young lives that are lost. in philadelphia saturday night, a community came together to mourn. >> it's a tragedy, you know. touched my heart. i cried all day yesterday. >> reporter: even those who know the family touched by the deadly crash. >> i'm a parent myself. it's hard to believe. >> reporter: 7-year-old terrance and his brother and sister key
aura were all killed mowed down when two carjackers lost control of an suv they had just stolen. the mom, as well as a family friend and the woman who was carjacked were seriously wounded. the family was selling fruit for their church to help build a new playground. but as this community anger grows, so does the manhunt. the suspects fled on foot and the city is offering a $100,000 reward. the police offering another 10,000 if an arrest is made by noon on monday. >> if you know the person who did this, you have to look yourself in the mirror and do the right thing and turn these folks in. >> reporter: now, we just spoke with the daughter of the woman who was injured in this and she said the same thing, they believe that somebody knows something and she was just begging for anyone to come forward. police say they are confident that they will find the suspects in this case. they have been looking at surveillance video from the
area. they've also been able to talk to the carjacking victim. she remains in the hospital in critical condition as does that mother, alex. she was just 34 years old, hasn't been told yet, according to that family friend, that her three children are dead. >> i didn't know that detail. that is gut-wrenching. kristen, thank you so much for the story. a new york city police officer is on modified duty after stopping a drug suspect caught on camera. it's the second time this month the department put an officer on modified duty based on video evidence. and the other officer was involved in that alleged choke hold earlier this month. the widow of the new york city man who died during that confrontation with the nypd is speaking out. she demanded justice for her late husband eric at a news conference on monday. she said that the 43-year-old was not asking for trouble.
>> my husband was not a violent man. not in any way, shape, form, or fashion. he was a quiet man but he's making a lot of noise now. >> gardener's family met with prosecution. the police department is launching its own investigation. the 25-year-old man charged with making threats, ali shahi, allegedly made a bomb threat. two f-16s that plane land. 142 people were on board that plane. central florida is recovering from a tornado touchdown there. wind speeds reached 100 miles an hour. severe storms are forecast for
mid-east and mid-atlantic regions. alex, good sunday to you. >> here's our storm system, a lot of moisture working northward. out ahead of it, it's going to be fuel for some of the storms to get going. as we progress on through our day, some of the storms could pack a punch. anywhere in the red we've got an opportunity for severe storms for parts of the upper ohio valley and new england and boston. damaging wind, hail, and, yes, tornadoes. that's going to be a risk that extends into parts of tennessee. from the nashville area to the carolinas, strong to severe storms. a rather large area where we have a potential for active weather. we all need to be prepared and know what to do when you hear those warnings. seek the shelter. get away from the elements in the great outdoors. farther south, though, southeast coast as well notice things quieting down north and west in this.
in fact, what we're going to find is much cooler numbers really starting to settle in. jet stream takes a dive south. that's going to allow the cooler air in canada to work its way on in. it's going to feel very unjuly-like. temperatures 5, 10, 15 degrees below average. and the key, the humidity levels, alex, they really drop. send it back to you. >> love that. thank you so much, alex wallace. peace in the middle east may be a dream but a former state official tells us how it can be achieved. and the latest in the upheaval in ukraine and new crucial evidence in satellite photos. this is the age of knowing what you're made of. so why let erectile dysfunction get in your way? talk to your doctor about viagra. 20 million men already have. ask your doctor if your heart is healthy enough for sex. do not take viagra if you take nitrates for chest pain... it may cause an unsafe drop in blood pressure.
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the israeli military has responded in kind. joining me is the state department's rule of law coordinator for iraq and also a united nations official in turkey. david, with a welcome to you, i read where you said recently that the only way to attain real peace is to get them to renounce it. how do you do that? >> well, that's a really difficult question. what we see that has happened now, hamas has bobbled another cease-fire and israel has taken the ball away from them. hamas clearly doesn't have the ability to control the militants right now, which is resulting in additional violence in gaza. the way to divide hamas from the people is if hamas can't show anything as a result of its efforts, its rocket attacks on israel. so far, it really hasn't. i think what we're finding is the general feeling among gazans
towards hamas is going down. its popularity is going down. hamas is desperate to show something fruitful out of these attacks. >> david, i know this is a very broad question but i'm going to throw it out there. are we ever going to see a so-called two-state solution in our lifetime? are we forever, instead, going to walk on this treadmill of conflict? >> we see right now an overall peace agreement. we see it's so difficult to get a cease-fire. there are now contrary firms by both sides. hamas is insisting that the blockade has to be removed. israel, on the other hand, is saying that gaza needs to be demilitarized. if you don't have a blockade, the two state solution has other issues that the two sides do not agree on. they don't agree on the borders, they don't agree onset sets. if you can't reach a temporary
cease-fire, you can't reach an overall peace agreement. there's a big test for secretary kerry. he's in the region and has been there since he took over as secretary of state and there are questions whether the conditions are right to make any progress. >> let's look at a comment by a palestinian advisers to mahmoud abbas. >> mahmoud abbas has come to terms with hamas, that they are accepting a two-state solution. they are before quiet, a long-term quietness. all while this conflict is really to achieve peace. >> interesting point to make here. this is an adviser to mahmoud abbas. we're not 100% certain that mahmoud abbas speaks on behalf of hamas. but a two-state solution, saying that this is a possible, do you think that's true? could you think hamas buys that?
a community who says they don't want to recognize israel as having a right to exist? they believe that? >> well, there are major divisions between abbas and hamas. they seem to be in better communication right now during this cry sus but they haven't reached agreement on terms. a two-state solution is the only solution that will work but hamas has made no effort to agree to any of the terms that would support a two-state solution. so i don't see that as viable. i don't see the comments as really genuine at this point. >> i'm curious, from your time in iraq, david, you've seen the way the american military operates. would the level of civilian casualties that we are seeing in gaza be acceptable from the mod turn u.s. military? >> well, we had civilian casualties in iraq as well. unfortunately, there is now in gaza we have the unfortunate
tragedy with the u.n. and school and they are making an effort not to harm civilians but gaza, i've been there, it's a very densely populated area. it's very easy for militants to hide among the population, which makes the task of not ininjuring civilians very, very tough. hamas is gaining points because of this u.n. school bombing but i don't think ultimately that's going to make a big difference. >> i'm curious, when the violence settles, will there be a humanitarian crisis in gaza and do they have the resources to build and if not, whose responsibility is that going to be? >> there has always been a humanitarian crisis in gaza. there's a small amount of aid and help that can get into gaza. if we reach a lasting cease-fire, israel will ensure that the basic food and medicine
that gazans need will reach the people. >> david, thank you so much for joining me. >> thank you. russia's firing rockets into ukraine so how should the u.s. respond, if at all? we'll speak with michael mcfaul. and a fast food worker's convention for a living wage. okay, movie night.everyone wins. how do i win? because we're streaming the movie that you love. well, how do i win? because we ordered that weird thing that you love from the pizza place. how do you win, dad? because i used the citi thankyou card and got two times the points on alllllll of this. well, and spending time with you guys of course. that was a better answer. the citi thankyou preferred card. earn two times the thankyou points on entertainment and dining out all with no annual fee. to apply, go to citi.com/thankyoucards.
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fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more. jesse? welcome back to "weekends with alex witt." developing news in eastern ukraine where there is an effort to remove the last bodies of mh-17. ukrainian tanks are moving further south. keir simmons is in donetsk with the latest from there. keir, what are you hearing along these lines today? >> reporter: good afternoon, alex. well, we're hearing the sound of rocket fire from here. we're standing in the center of donetsk, the area of the crash site. we're hearing multiple rockets pounding the northwest of this city. boom, boom, boom coming in in an area that is controlled by the pro-russian rebels being fired by the ukrainian military. they have been firing
ammunitions at that part of donetsk for days now. we think they are trying to get control of an area around the airport and at the same time, this stunning move by the ukrainians involving, as you say, tanks and other armored vehicles heading across the country into that country where mh-17 was downed, moving the rebels in front of them to get there, it seems. so a land grab by the ukrainian military to take control of that area where the crash happened. there has been fighting there, about 15 miles away for some time. once you go about 15 miles or further, you're starting to get close to the russian border. so the question, alex, now will be whether or not the ukraines are going to be able to sustain this coup, if you'd like, and get a hold of the crash site or whether what we'll now see is the fighting that makes that site more difficult to access. there are dutch police here. we saw them here in this city
hoping to get there, arriving here finally after ten days and now having to sit here and wait because there's so much fighting down the road and in some cases, some villages, civilians fleeing the fighting. so it really is too dangerous for any officials to get there, even the western officials who have been there over a number of days didn't make it today. so we shall see exactly how that fighting pans out. and at the same time, the wreckage is still there. people's personal belongings are still there and the remains of some of the passengers are still there uncollected. the work is not done even while this fighting has escalated again here. >> yeah. keir, i'm curious, you talk about the dutch police. presumably they are armed when they are at home in the netherlands on patrols. but who it be beyond conceivable to arm the investigators going in from australia and the netherlands as they try to get
to that crash site? >> reporter: i think they think that's a bad idea because they are not going to be armed. they think it's a really bad idea because of the potential for them to get caught in the middle of a bitter fight between two sides and when you're there on the ground, remember, the trouble is that this is a constantly moving, as you can hear, conflict line. so you wouldn't be certain that someone you're confronting would know who you are. they won't want to do that. they'll want to make sure that it's secured on one side or the other. they prefer it on the ukrainian side and who knows how long that will be, alex. >> and so we wait. thank you very much, keir simmons. appreciate it. going on the offensive. "the new york times" writes that the pentagon and intelligence agencies are providing ukraine with the russian-backed separatist systems similar to
what downed mh-17. joining us is michael mcfaul, professor at stanford university. nice to see you. >> thanks for having me. >> just apparently ba today backing up the satellite images that shows russia firing artillery into ukraine. how deeply should the u.s. be involved in the ukraine conflict? >> let's just be clear. the russians are violating international norms. and now if these reports are true, they would turn this into an intrastate war. from my point of view, the united states is perfectly justified in supporting the government in kiev. whether it should be military assistance or not, i'll let them decide. but to provide intelligence to
help the ukrainians win this is the correct strategy. >> i'm curious, what are america's interests in ukraine and how does it play to the president's overall foreign doctrine? >> the international rules of the gang. we had a terrible tragedy in europe when countries started annexing other territories. so the united nations was set up and it was said very explicitly, thou shall not annex other territories. putin violated that right. so the president and the other administration believes that we have to enforce those international norms because if we don't, other country also say, if the russia can do it in ukraine, we can do it here or elsewhere. i think that's the main strategic objective of the u.s. right now.
>> we've got a russian government that has made the constant decision to use its military force inside of another sovereign nation to achieve its objectives. first time, i think, probably since 1939 or so that that's been the case. >> he is comparing russia to nazi german's invasion of poland. is it at that point? >> not in my opinion. and let's be clear. putin is not hill ter. let's be clear about that. his objectives are different and the military intervention in eastern ukraine is nothing like what the nazis did in poland but it is correct to be worried about a country using military power to annex and destabilize another european country. that is something we haven't seen for a long time and it needs to stop. >> yesterday the russian foreign
ministry warned that it may no longer cooperate with europe on fighting terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. do you see that as being just bluster or do you think they are making a true threat? >> i thitsnk it's a threat that they feel like they are losing. we have been focused so much on sanctions and trying to change putin's mind about what he's doing in eastern ukraine but in fact what has been happening over the last several months and now in the last several days is that putin is losing. he wanted all of ukraine to be in the economic union. that has failed. he wanted to create this new independent piece of ukraine that would be part of eastern russia. that has failed. wanted to create a frozen conflict in eastern europe so there would be instability in eastern ukraine for a long, long time. that may fail right now and as a result of those failures he keeps upping the ante, sending weapons in and destabilizing
this threat with europe and all of those signs, in my opinion, are indications that putin is actually losing this war in eastern ukraine. >> all right. interesting perspective from the former u.s. ambassador to russia, michael mcfaul. thank you so much for stanford university. israel has resumed its offensive in gaza after palestinian militants launched rockets in a 24-hour truce. here is mahmoud abbas. >> by all means, we want peace and we wanted to come to term with the israelis. the israelis wanted to sabotage the palestinian reconciliation. this has been under total siege for seven years. >> joining me on the phone right now is jamie from gaza city. you have new video of an attack. tell me what it is that you are bringing to us. >> good afternoon, alex, from
gaza. the video i have to show you has a building, a house not too far from where i filmed it being struck by an apparent israeli missile at about 1:30 local time this afternoon. and the video goes to show that we are in a gray area here. we are in between truce agreements and it's those spaces in between that are most dangerous, alex because the situation can spiral out of control. >> jamie, is there a truce or is there not a truce? i mean, clearly the evidence of a video we're seeing right now shows that there are still attacks but the pervasive sentiments, do the gazans believe that there is a truce at all. >> no. no. there is no truce to speak of right now, alex. and it's been a confusing and
foggy days. it started around midnight last night when the israeli cabinet voted to offer a 24-hour extension of a lull in the fighting onset hamas rejected it overnight and then at about 2:00 this afternoon put forward its own offer for essentially the same agreement, the 24-hour truce agreement and the israeli cabinet convened this evening and is discussing the next steps. >> yeah. jamie, it's been suggested twice on my broadcast that many palestinians are pulling away support of hamas because what is happening around them. do you sense that at all being the truth on the ground? >> no. i think it's more complicated than that. it's partly true. yesterday we were able to visit the neighborhood that is north of gaza which is seeing the brunt of the israeli offensive
over the last 2, 2 1/2 weeks. a number of 200,000 people. we visited a man who was clearing out his apartment and there is a gaping hole in the ceiling. we asked him whether support for hamas has increased and he said to us, it's about 50/50. some people want an end to this and others are saying that israel should feel some of the pain that we are feeling. that's a snapshot right there of the divide among this population with regard to hamas and with regard to the conflict. >> all right, we thank you so much, jamie. "to kill a mockingbird" and the author who says it's a book she wishes she had never written. that's next. woooo.
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country, our courts are the great levellers. and our courts, all men are created equal. >> outstanding. it has been more than half a century since "to kill a mockingbird" was a great classic of modern literature. to this day, little is known about the author, 88-year-old harper lee. until now, a book has dug deep into the author's life. it details her and her sister's upbringing and how her only published novel affected their lives. a good day to you. >> good day. >> i know you went to great lake lengths to write this book. you defriended the sisters. talk about your association with them and how you got to live next door. >> it's a memoir, really, of my
time living next door after i first got to know them when the city of chicago library system chose "to kill a mockingbird" back in 2001. and so i was sent there. i was a feature writer of the chicago tribune. i was sent to their hometown back in 2001, a population of 2,000. >> i want to pick up, she helped you? because she notoriously would say no, no, no, when someone wanted to discuss things. >> she did. they had some things they were ready to share, some stories that they were ready to share and some points of view. >> what was the most interesting and/or surprising story that they shared with you. >> i think the burden of the
extraordinary success of that novel along with, of course, the blessings that came with what it has meant to so many people. the extent to which they were still dealing with that 40 years later when i was there was surprising. their little post office box off the town square in that town still, there was just a steady stream of correspondence from writers. >> harper lee has come out with a publishing of your book and said she did not cooperate, she's none too pleased with having it out there. what do you say to that? >> well, in 2001 -- i'm sorry. in 2011 when there was news that the penguin press would publish the book, a statement did go out and her sister alice lee, who is involved with her affairs for many years and was practicing law put out a statement saying that had gone out without her knowledge and it didn't reflect her feelings or those of her sister. they were wonderfully helpful with this and so generous not
just with their time but insights into that part of the world in their own singular experience all those years later. >> you do talk to her about being on record of what you indicated to her earlier having regrets about writing the book. what specifically did she tell but that? >> there were times when she longed for the privacy that she couldn't have with the success of the novel. she -- i did ask her one time, she had made that comment and i asked her, did she still feel that way? >> i underestimated that. i wish i had never written the damn thing. >> i asked her, do you still feel that way? and she said, sometimes, but the feeling passes. that's an appreciation for what it's meant to so many people and the nakt generations within the same family have that as common ground. >> absolutely. it's a book to read as is this
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able bodied people should go to work and we should have a system so they can do that so they can realize their potential. that's a far better system to get people out of poverty long term than to spend taxpayer dollars on a program that is not getting results that people deserve. >> that was paul ryan on "meet the press" this morning defending his policy on fighting poverty. has his message and tone changed? joining me from lehigh university, james peterson, thanks for joining me. you just heard paul ryan say
able bodied people should go to work. does it sound like he's blaming the victim and not the circumstances surrounding them? >> in that circumstance, of course. there's a lack of jobs. paul ryan's role on this committee has been a slash and burn kind of role. he's willing to cut the social safety net. he's trying to transfer more power to the states in terms of determining how those resources are allocated. that's a big boom for the party to return power to the states but when we look at the plan in toto, the reality is that most poor folk don't need a lifecoach. what they need is more resources and opportunities and access to jobs. >> what's interesting, ryan also spoke about how government programs disincentivize people from going to work. let's take a listen to that. >> the federal government's approach has ended up
maintaining poverty, managing poverty. in some cases, you lose more in benefits if you go to work so people don't go to work because of the federal disincentive to do so. so we need to re-empathize of helping people go on with their lives. >> any truth in that? >> no, alex. this has nothing to do with food stamps or snap or welfare. people are disenchanted with the lack of opportunity. people are disenchanted with a game that is rigged, the kind of economy that paul ryan and his cohert are interested in is trying to of a normal kind of living here in american society. so there are disinnocecentive. tax credits for the rich and
subsidies for oil companies of large corporations, those are the disincentives for those who want to work in america. >> how about paul ryan getting a little credit for tackling the problem? >> of course. listen, if all politicians needed help with coming up with ideas, these ideas are a bit wrong headed in the sense that they don't recognize the entire system. we have a system that favors the rich. as we look at income gaps, we understand this and know this. if we would challenge our corporations to employ more poor folk, those are the kind of incentives that give people in the workforce a chance to engage. >> i don't know if you saw an article in "the new york times" but it's pretty extraordinary, the divide. any solution or reasons behind it? >> yes. it's pretty clear that neoliberalism and the fact that we continue to subsidize the wealthy and corporations, that's
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let's close the gap between people and care. welcome to "taking the hill," i'm patrick murphy. we have a big show in front of us today. another compelling documentary produced in part by the wounded warrior project and a we salute you you don't want to miss. first, hot spots around the world today are leading the headlines. the crisis in gaza. ukraine and the downing of mh-17 and iraq under siege again. joining me is an iraq war veteran and captured in the hawaiianio